Aviva Cohen
Darrell Friedman Institute

Disassembling the “Manel” and Building Representative Jewish Communities

 In Personal Perspectives

Three Rabbinical Students, One Opinion: Disassembling the “Manel” and Building Representative Jewish Communities

By Talia Kaplan, Lilli Shvartsmann, and Emily Volz 

For many, the image associated with the word “rabbi” is a white man with a beard. This is understandable – it’s easy to associate roles with the people you’re used to filling them. Two of us – Lilli and Talia – did not consider becoming rabbis until we were adults, in large part because we did not see many female rabbis growing up. Emily was surrounded by female rabbis, yet the lack of queer and disabled representation still limited the way she and others perceived her and her potential for leadership. A common thread in all of our stories is that the image we associated with rabbis did not include us. Read More

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